Public Health Announcement Released April 6, 2020
Dear Hodgeman County Residents:
Thank you for all you have done during this difficult time to prevent spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in our community. All of your sacrifices have protected our community, and as of this writing there are no known cases in our community. COVID-19 is spreading across Kansas with cases in Finney County doubling as of this morning. As of this writing, there are 747 cases in Kansas with 183 hospitalizations and 22 deaths. Secretary Norman expects cases to double over the next few days. Current national projections for peak and lack of resources are dire. Our county being directly affected will be just a matter of time. More information about Kansas may be found at the COVID-19 resource center at www.kdhe.gov which also has a map of COVID-19 in Kansas.
As Hodgeman County Health Officer, I strongly recommend the following:
- Respect the Governor’s Stay at Home order and only leave your home for essential business such as acquiring food, medicine or seeking healthcare. Farmers and Ranchers, please continue to plant crops and tend animals. The work you do is essential for our nation.
- Maintain Social Distancing of at least 6 feet while in public places, noting that a study released today shows that COVID-19 may travel up to 26 feet through a sneeze or cough.
- Consider wearing a surgical or cloth mask while in public. CDC recommended this today. There are designs online to make these cloth masks, for the creative seamstresses in our community. www.cdc.gov
- If you suspect you may have COVID-19 through sick contacts, travel history or have respiratory symptoms of any kind (cough, fever, shortness of breath), please call ahead to clinic (O’Shea Medical Center 620-357-8354) or hospital (Hodgeman County Health Center 620-357-8361) prior to seeking medical treatment. The clinic is working hard to separate sick and well patient visits through scheduling and diligent cleaning between patient encounters.
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds using soap and water, particularly after being out in public and after coughing/sneezing. Cough or sneeze into arm, not your hands.
- Wipe all surfaces at home and work with standard disinfect. Also, you may use a 10% household bleach solution or a 70% alcohol solution for disinfection.
- Isolation or quarantine recommendations. If you are asked by the Hodgeman County Health Department or your healthcare provider to stay at home for a certain amount of time, please respect these recommendations for their full duration.
- Refrain from any non-essential out of county travel. Please shop for essential food, household goods and medicine in Hodgeman County. You will be protecting our community and supporting our local small businesses. The Jetmore Food Center (620-357-6554) has done an exceptional job protecting our most vulnerable through home delivery. Our local pharmacist (620-357-8305) will place orders for things that you need which if available can often be here the next day.
I have always believed that in the case of a National Emergency that rural west Kansas would be the best place to live. Unfortunately, the worst pandemic in recent human history occurred to prove that assessment correct. I am proud to call Hodgeman County home. I ask for the community to pray for our Nation, our state of Kansas as we work diligently to ramp up testing efforts, and for protection of health of all of our healthcare workers. Please continue your efforts to prevent and reduce spread.
Kristie Clark MD
Hodgeman County Health Officer
Vice Chief Medical Officer Hodgeman County Health Center
President-Elect American Academy of Pediatrics